There are a lot of reasons to love “Parks and Recreation.” It’s one of the funniest comedies on TV. It’s one of the nicest, always allowing you to laugh with rather than at the characters. It has plenty of heartwarming moments you don’t expect. Most importantly, though, it’s the one thing that makes waiting in line at the DMV or going to pay off your parking ticket tolerable.
That’s because this series from the “Office” creative team has long put a positive spin on public servants. We’ve all spent time wanting to scream while dealing with someone behind a local government counter, but watching a show about the staff at the Pawnee, Indiana parks and recreation department humanizes these folks. “Parks and Recreation” is a reminder that all their weirdness, humor and love of smoked meats isn’t that different from your own.
So, in honor of this week’s season (and possible series) “Parks and Rec” finale, here’s a suggestion. The next time you are ready to scream at a meter maid for a ticket or that clerk who sent you to the wrong office to pay your water bill, try this. Watch these five standout episodes of the show and see if you don’t feel a little calmer.
There are few things funnier than watching people get drunk and behave badly (just ask anyone who has ever been to any wedding reception ever), and this episode was a perfect example. Leslie (Amy Poehler) really lets loose at the Snakehole Lounge after a bad day at the office. It’s funny to watch her lose control and even funnier to realize there’s a place called the Snakehole Lounge.
This second season episode was one of the earliest attempts to shine the spotlight on the manliest of sit-com men, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), a man who never met a cut of meet he didn’t like. Even better, it also featured Megan Mulally as his first wife as well as Ron’s “Tiger Woods” outfit, which he wears after marital relations.
Lesley tries to inspire civic pride by allowing citizens to suggest what should go into the Pawnee time capsule that’s being buried. You know this is more like a reality show when one citizen (Will Forte) is pushing for the inclusion of all the “Twilight” books. Which really do feel like a thing of the past now, don’t they?
It’s time for the big Harvest Festival in Pawnee, and Leslie hits the media trail to promote the event. That includes visits to everyone from the wacky radio morning Zoo Crew to the local TV news. Things get problematic when Ben (Adam Scott) gets grilled about his past. If you think those dopey negative political ads are funny during elections season, wait till you see this episode.
Anything that has Paul Rudd in it is automatically worthy of attention, and his guest stint here as Leslie’s opponent for the Pawnee, City Council seat was pure genius. Okay, dumb genius, but still genius. And when the election goes down to the wire, you realize that it doesn’t matter who wins and loses. It’s just about who makes you laugh the most.